March 20, 2009

Did Putin Also Make A Cameo In An 80s Movie?
12:00 AM

White House photographer Pete Souza has a fascinating find: a picture of Ronald Reagan visiting Moscow as president, talking to a tourist who looks an awful lot like Vladimir Putin. We can't be sure it's Putin.

Who Is Scott Gration?

On Wednesday, Barack Obama appointed retired Air Force Major General J. Scott Gration as his special envoy to Sudan. In 2001, when the envoy position was first created, the job entailed brokering a peace deal between Khartoum and rebel groups in the south. It subsequently mutated to include halting Darfur's genocide and reversing President Bashir's expulsion of humanitarian aid workers. So, what does Gration's appointment mean for Darfur policy now? The Sudan experts I spoke to were cautiously optimistic.

March 19, 2009

Up a Very Steep Hill
12:00 AM

Although Barack Obama has had plenty of domestic fights with Republicans over everything from earmarks to his stimulus plan, when it comes to his foreign policy, partisan politics have been relatively quiet. No longer. A cadre of Senate Republicans are now trying to bring down Obama’s pick for ambassador to Iraq, Chris Hill,. But because the GOP is less interested in how Hill might handle Iraq than in venting grievances about his personality, and his role directing the Bush administration's North Korea policy, their surprise offensive appears to be stalling. Obama will get his choice.

Populism Isn't the Weasel
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Conservatives have argued for decades that the sins most dangerous to our society were rooted in lust when in fact the most damaging transgressions involved greed.We are at the beginning of a great popular rebellion against those who showed no self-restraint when it came to lining their own pockets. Their entitlement mentality arose from an inflated sense of their own value, of how much smarter they were than everyone else. The sound you are hearing in response to the AIG payoffs--excuse me, bonuses--is the rancorous noise of their arrogance crashing to earth.

12:00 AM

Early one morning in November 2007, just as the college basketball season was getting under way, a message from my mother popped up on my laptop insisting that I go to the Wikipedia page for Kyle Singler, a 6'8" then-freshman phenom debuting at Duke, my alma mater.

Free Ray Lahood! (er, Sort Of.)
12:00 AM

Greenwire's Josh Voorhees has an insightful piece about how new Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is trying to be cautious about what he says these days, especially after causing a minor fracas last month when he publicly suggested a per-mile tax on driving.

The Fed Fights Back
12:00 AM

I made the point earlier today that Treasury and the White House probably wanted to avoid antagonizing the Fed by scapegoating it for the bonus fiasco, since the Fed was in a position to fight back with damaging leaks.

What The Hell Does The Public Want, Anyway?
12:00 AM

Trying to tease out What Americans Think about climate change is incredibly frustrating. One will show people hand-wring over rising temperatures. But the next poll will suggest it's a low priority compared with other issues. Then a third poll will find that people are willing to trade some economic growth to protect the environment. Yet  another poll will show that people don't want to pay more for, say, gas—even if it'd reduce oil use. Obviously, responses are sensitive to the wording of the questions—a tweak here or there can lead to vastly different sentiments.

Tnr Slideshow: March Madness Hits Washington
12:00 AM

Politicians are hardly immune to the charms of March Madness. While not everyone had their own bracket fanfare--as Barack Obama did when he unveiled his picks to ESPN on Tuesday--plenty of political insiders are geared up for today's first NCAA tournament games. In today's TNR slideshow, we bring you a guide to Washington's insatiable basketball jones. --Katie Koch Image courtesy of Pete Souza/WhiteHouse.gov

Response: Massachusetts Reform Is Not A Model.
12:00 AM

Diane Archer is co-president of the Health Care for All Project, which is run by the Institute for America's Future. She's also the author of a report, about the results of health reforms in Massachusetts, that I criticized a few days ago. We asked her to respond and she has. Diane is also the founder and past president of the Center for Medicare Rights, where she got a close-up look at how American health insurance works. So it's worth taking her arguments seriously.